Zoom teaching has become the thing in the classroom since the start of the COVID pandemic. Now one year after the start of zoom teaching, there is a struggle to get students engaged. In some states, higher education students do not have to turn on their cameras. Imagine teaching to blank screens? Are the students listening? Are the students still sleeping? How do you know if the students are engaged with their cameras off? Last year, I had the opportunity to zoom teach and let me provide you with three ways to engage students in the zoom environment using active learning techniques.
Active Learning in the Synchronous Environment
Active learning is defined as when a person uses information in the service of achieving a learning outcome. As the instructor, you design an activity that engages the student with a specific outcome in mind. The students are engaged the entire time. In the synchronous environment, try the Pro/Con debate activity. The activity requires students to be divided into groups of 3 to 4. Students must prepare both pro and con to the topic you have issued. The students do not know which side they will debate. The students will go off into their group and prepare for both sides of the topic. Bring the class back into the main room and have pairs of groups debate one another. Provide each group whether they are pro or con. Group 1 debates Group 3 and Group 2 debates Group 4. All students in the group are actively engaged in the learning process, not just passively learning.
Analyzing and Evaluating
The next activity you can do in the synchronous environment is analyzing and evaluating a video, story, artistic work, etc. I had my students analyze and evaluate a companies marketing strategy. The way these activities work is to specify the learning objectives and the criteria for evaluating the work. The learning objectives for the activity were for students to identify customer’s needs from the marketing commercial. I told students to go on YouTube and find a marketing commercial that identifies the customer’s needs. I should have set parameters such as making sure the marketing commercial was appropriate for the classroom. One student showed a commercial from a non-U.S. company that bordered the line between appropriate and inappropriate.
The explaining activity is up to each instructor because you have the student explain their work. I did a creative space where the student draws an environment where they can be creative. I found the activity online titled “your creative space,” and I am providing the link. I gave my students about five minutes to draw their creative space. After time was up, I had each student turn on their camera and explained their creative space. If you want students to turn on their camera, do an explaining activity.
There are numerous ways to do active learning activities but start with at least one activity and how you like the active learning activity. You can check out more activities from the presentation I did a few weeks ago at the Adjunct to Adjunct Conference at Roosevelt University. How will you get students engaged in the zoom classroom?
Learning Technology Specialist with business experience. Check out more at www.jayphd.com
Online learning is here to stay, and I don’t see how online learning will die. Everywhere you go, there are advertisements for online education courses and degrees. Technology advancements and internet access provide individuals with the ability to complete all of their higher education through online programs from bachelors to masters to doctoral degrees. No matter how much instructors do to make face to face courses, interactive learners enjoy the flexibility and convenience of online learning. Let me explain why online learning will not die anytime soon.
The future is written
Whenever I board a plane and grab the airline magazine, guess what advertisement I see? Online education degrees and executive programs providing flexible schedules and on-demand courses. Flexibility is what everyone wants. Flexibility to get to work, to get groceries, to be with their kids, so why not education. Online learning provides individuals with the opportunity to be flexible with their education.
Education is already onboard
Universities are quickly jumping on the online learning bandwagon. There isn’t a university out there that doesn’t have some type of online education program or courses available. Online education brings in additional revenue from not just local students but also students abroad.
Given the demands on learner’s time and need to graduate at a faster pace, online learning is the present and future of education. Technology is advanced that no learner has to walk into a classroom. The bandwidth is good enough to have online video interaction either through asynchronous or synchronous. If you have not registered for an online course, then you’re missing out on the flexibility and instant access to education.
Are you ready for the future of online learning?
Dr. J Real Talk
Learning and Development Specialist. Discussing business, ed tech, and life. Follow me on social media @DrJRealTalk
Online learning is the umbrella under which other names such as e-learning, mobile learning, blended learning, and online education fall together where the main component of all of them is technology. If there is no technology, there is no such thing as online learning. The advancement of online learning provides higher education and K-12 institutions online courses where students now have the option to not set foot into a physical school or campus. In this post, I provide three concepts on how to explain online learning to your mom.
The Brief History
One could argue that online learning started over a hundred years ago when the universities would mail their lessons to students, and students would mail their completed assignments back to the university. In 1960 the University of Illinois created an intranet system for its students that linked terminals to its students for access to course materials.
In 1986 when the Electronic University Network created its first online course and in 2002, the OpenCourseWare Project from Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) provided free courses and lecture material free of charge in what is now called Open Education Resources.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and students know to turn on a computer and have immediate access to an online course, and instructors can teach without having to step inside the classroom.
How Online Learning Works
Online courses are available through learning management systems (LMS), both of which are under the umbrella of online learning. LMS is a software application that allows instructors to deliver, track, report, and administer online courses.
Popular LMS software includes Blackboard, Moodle, Blackboard of which many university institutions and K-12 institutions use for their classroom purposes. Once courses are posted on an LMS, students have access to the online course content and communication between the instructor and classmates.
Benefits of online learning
Online learning provides tremendous benefits, including lower-costs, flexible schedule, comfort, and learn whatever you want from where you want. When students take face to face courses, they have to set their schedules around the course because they must be physically present.
An online course provides students with the flexibility to take the course at their leisure from the comfort of their own home. The savings cost of an online course compared to a face to face course depends on the institution, but you do save on gas and mileage.
Online learning is not difficult to learn once you know the background. When it comes down to it, online learning is growing, provides students the flexibility to choose their schedule, and provides institutions the ability to reach more students. Ask your mom if she now understands online learning?
To learn more about online learning check out the course from Learngenix.
Dr. J Real Talk
Learning and Development Specialist. Discussing business, ed tech, and life. Follow me on social media @DrJRealTalk
Online courses have become a must for students that need to have work, life, and school balance along with convenience and access. Online courses have also provided instructors the ability to reach a larger audience, give time to reflect on a question from a student before answering, and give all course content on the first day of class. Online courses provide convenience for students, but dedicated preparation from the instructors is needed, and it’s no easy task. Here are three essential elements an instructor needs for their online course.
Have a welcome message
A detailed welcome message explaining expectations, email response time, an outline of the course, directions for textbook access, a brief overview of assignments, what students can expect from the course, and classroom rules can set the direction of the course for students.
There are two ways of setting up your welcome message. You can either write out the welcome message or create a video. In my experience, it’s more convenient to write out the welcome message. A welcome message is easy to edit. When you create a video, you have to take into consideration audio, lighting, writing out the script for the video, and closed captioning. Questions to think about if you decide to film is who is going to shoot the video? Where will you upload the video? Will students even take the time to watch the video?
The goal of the welcome message is to be as detailed as possible without overloading the student and making sure the students understand the course. If done correctly, the welcome message may prevent an overload of student email questions about the course.
Upload course material including the syllabus
Before starting the course, assure that all documents have been uploaded to the course learning management system (LMS). Some departments upload content, and all you have to do is upload your updated syllabus. However, this may not be the case for everyone. Take the time to upload classroom material into the LMS, adjust the due dates for each assignment, quiz, and/or exam in the LMS. Uploaded content before the start of the course makes it convenient for students to access content, and the instructor can focus on teaching, grading, and answering questions. Don’t forget to adjust due dates because if you don’t, students will send you a panic email as to why the exam is not opening.
Establish an email response policy
In a digital society where Google can provide answers in less than a second, students may expect the same from instructors in regards to their questions. As the instructor, I suggest you set up an email response policy to let students know that you don’t respond quickly to emails and that students shouldn’t wait until the last minute to ask a question believing that they will get a quick response.
A good email response policy should read something like this, “emails will be responded promptly only from university emails, not personal emails, and with a subject heading that includes the course name and section number. Average response time on weekdays will be 24 hours and on weekends and holidays 48 hours.” You don’t have to use the response that I provided, but having something similar is better than having nothing.
Online courses can be engaging, fun, and interactive. Of all my years of teaching online, setting up a welcome message, uploading course materials, and having an email response policy has saved me headaches and provided for a smooth start for my students. What will you do for a smooth start to your online course?
Dr. J Real Talk
Discussing business, ed tech, and life. Follow me on social media @DrJRealTalk
Article is originally from Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo. All credit is given to main authors.
Active learning in the classroom can increase student engagement and promote learning. The online environment can also be used to create active learning opportunities for students that help them engage with challenging concepts or that provide self-assessment of self-reflection opportunities. Blended courses, those with online and face-to-face components, provide an opportunity to integrate the learning that is done online and in the classroom so that students can see clear connections between what they are doing in both environments. Introducing an online activity in class and then providing feedback to the activity in class after the activity is completed can help “close the loop” of learning for students. The questions outlined below can help you think about the objectives of an online activity, the most appropriate technology for building it and how students will receive feedback and be assessed on their learning and work.
Online learning activities include: synchronous and asynchronous online discussions, online self-assessments, blogs, wikis, virtual field trips, virtual labs, case studies, simulations, problem solving, concept mapping, and interactive learning objects. Learning objects and reusable learning activities can be found in online repositories such as Merlot or through the instructor resources repository in our current learning management system (log into LEARN and go to the link in the repositories section of your course listing page). Activities can be relatively straightforward tasks that an individual can complete in a short amount of time, or more complex activities that can include collaboration between students and have a longer timeframe. All activities should promote meaningful engagement with course concepts and not become “busy work” for the students.
Ask yourself:What is the objective or intended learning outcome of this activity?Most course outlines or syllabi have a set of course objectives or intended learning outcomes for a course; using these same principles, articulate one specific objective or intended learning outcome for the activity. See the Centre for Teaching Excellence teaching tip “Writing Learning Outcomes”.
How long should the learning take?This will depend on the objective or intended learning outcome of the activity. The interaction and learning time can be short, for example a 5 minute self assessment for students to monitor their understanding of a concept, or longer, such as a series of practice problems that are linked to a java applets or web-based interactive simulations that could take up to an hour.
Will the activity be individual, collaborative or both?Although we tend to imagine students working alone at their computers, student often tackle their online activities in pairs or trios; two or three heads can be better than one! Peer–to–peer interactions and dialogue about challenging concepts and problem solving can increase their engagement and help learning, so it can be helpful to design activities with this in mind and to encourage students to collaborate on such activities.
Which media and technologies should be used?Keep it simple. The overwhelming range of tools and media options available can make it challenging to choose how to best design and deliver an online activity. Use the objective or intended learning outcome of the activity as a starting point to decide which visual and audio components will be most effective. Our learning management system provides many tools that can be the starting point of a learning activity (quizzes, discussion forums, wikis) and scaffolded learning opportunities can be created that provide access to a sequence of activities of increasing complexity or difficulty in a controlled timeframe or through a series of learner actions. Tools and resources that are external to our learning management system can be used to develop online learning activities, but may not provide opportunities to back-up student work. If grades are given for the activity or student participation is to be tracked and reviewed for participation grades, external tools may not have the stability and longevity that institutional resources provide.
How will the learners get feedback on what they have learned?“Close the loop” of learning by providing feedback to the activity. Effective feedback can direct and guide a student and help them understand if they have achieved understanding. When providing individual feedback is impractical, model answers or links to helpful resources can be provided automatically and immediately online and can be based on their performance in the activity. Effective feedback to activities can also be given to the whole class during class time where the online activity can be a springboard to deeper in-class learning or connected to new concepts.
How will the learning be assessed?We typically provide summative assessment to students by grading them on tasks and their grade, or mark, reflects how well they have preformed on the task. Formative assessment, on the other hand, can help students recognize misconceptions and guide them to better understanding and thus better performance on future assessments. Both formative and summative assessment can be part of a learning activity depending on the objective or intended learning outcome of the task.
How will I motivate students to participate in the activity? If an activity is perceived as valuable to students and properly integrated into a course, students will be more motivated to do the activity. Participation marks or a small grade allocation for engaging in an online learning activity can also increase students’ motivation. Students are more likely to participate in low stakes activities if they are going to be integrated into their experiences in the classroom, tutorial or lab. Providing real world, authentic tasks that are relevant to students’ lives or future professional lives that are challenging, but achievable, can also increase motivation.
How will learners communicate with each other and ask the instructor questions?Providing opportunities for students to ask questions about the learning activity in class or through online frequently asked questions discussion boards can help create a supportive environment for learning to take place.